The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, has called on Ghanaians to fully embrace the Beneficial Ownership Disclosure (BOD) concept to increase domestic revenue mobilisation.
He said the concept, which came under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative, was to deal with challenges affecting the economy.
At a conference on BOD in Accra, the President indicated that aside from the BOD increasing revenue mobilisation, it would also help in tackling corruption.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, the President indicated that the establishment of a central register for BOD was a key requirement for a number of initiatives that the country had signed on to, including the OGP, the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
He said with a successful implementation of BOD, it would help lift the “veil of real owners of companies to ensure that they pay the right amount of taxes, reduce transfer pricing and mispricing which have the potential of undermining our efforts at domestic revenue mobilisation”.
The importance of conference
The BOD conference was organised by the OGP Secretariat in collaboration with the Office of the Registrar of Companies and the EITI Secretariat to assess the progress made towards the implementation of the BOD, identify potential and real challenges to implementation and deliberate on the way forward.
The BOD conference on the theme, ‘Taking stock of progress made and challenges to government’s efforts at reducing corruption and improving domestic revenue mobilisation would focus on a discussion on how to mobilise technical and financial resources for the BOD implementation and other OGP activities.
Recounting the country’s BOD journey, President Akufo Addo stated that in 2016, the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) in collaboration with the then Registrar-General’s Department (RGD), convened stakeholder consultations with both state and non-state actors to solicit inputs and to discuss Ghana’s approach and strategy, which culminated in the development of a roadmap to guide Beneficial Ownership (BO) implementation in the country.
That, he said, was followed by the amendment of the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) to include BO provisions.
Efforts of government
However, he said the amendment did not address all the BO issues and so government, as part of its continuous commitments to transparency and good governance, with the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC) and the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice (OAGMJ), provided a comprehensive legislative backing to BOD by the passage of the Companies’ Act, 2019 (Act 992).
“I am told the BO register was successfully established in 2020 and the data currently being compiled for disclosure. I wish to use this opportunity to thank the Office of the Registrar of Companies and all other stakeholders for making this possible”.
Senior Presidential Advisor and Chairman of the National Steering Committee on OGP Initiative, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, said Ghana’s membership of the OGP demonstrated the country’s desire to further expand and deepen the scope of open and accountable governance.
The OGP, he noted, had grown from an initial membership of eight governments into a formidable global coalition of 78 governments and hundreds of civil-society organisations.
The Registrar of Companies, Jemima Oware, said there was the need for Ghanaians to be educated on the BO as many did not understand what the concept was and that had resulted in many having difficulties to register their BO.
She however disclosed that currently, all entities were required to submit their BO information to the ORG during incorporation, filling of their annual returns and amendment of existing information to enhance transparency in the business environment.